Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Matchbox Project

Here are some cute holiday matchboxes I designed using those tiny bottle brush trees from the craft store.  The idea came to mind one day when I was thinking about my childhood Christmas holidays and the decorations my mother would place around the house.  She had these cute little decorative match boxes near her candles for Christmas and I always adored them.  

Over the years I have given away and also sold many of these and other painted and decorated match boxes at my holiday boutiques. They are very popular and packaged with a set of taper candles or a pillar candle, it makes a unique gift for anyone on your list!

Small matchboxes   2" x 1 1/2"  (Try the dollar store, grocery store or other discount stores.)
Sandpaper or Emery board
Paints in your color choice to cover boxes and wood bases of trees
Sponge or sponge brush for painting (you can also use brushes if you prefer)
Paint brushes (to brush paint on the trees)
Craft Twinkles brush-on liquid glitter paint to accent the boxes and tree bases
Exacto or box knife to cut the base in half
Bottle brush trees with wood bases (Craft stores)
White paint to brush on the trees
Glitter Glues to decorate the trees
Hot glue gun

First thing to do is remove the matches from the interior box and set aside.  Then take the outer box and lightly sand the outside to remove it's glossy finish.  I keep my finger inside the box to keep it from collapsing inward when I sand and paint it.  Then paint the outside of the matchbox any color you wish.  This will take about three to four coats of paint.

I use a small piece of sponge or a sponge brush and pounce it on the box while being very careful not to smash it. Pouncing it on covers faster than brushing on one coat of paint at a time. Be sure to always let the paint dry in between coats or you will actually be lifting paint from the box.  Time to get out the blow dryer! 

You can even add a little glitter paint on the boxes too. Sometimes I even use a spatter technique with thinned white paint and an old toothbrush. All you need to do is load some of the thinned paint on the toothbrush and then run your thumb down the bristles and watch the paint fly.  I suggest you practice this method on a piece of cardboard or colored construction paper before attempting this on your matchboxes. Either way, be sure to let all the paints dry well when finished painting.

Once the boxes are dry it's time to prepare the trees.  You will need to cut off  half of the wood base with an Exacto or box knife.  Be very careful since your fingers will have to be extremely close while cutting these wood bases.  Stand it on a stable surface and slightly bend the tree to the side so you can get the knife very close to the wire that is the base of the tree.  Press down hard and the base should cut in half easily. 

Next sand the edges of the base to smooth off any rough spots.   This will also help it to lay flat against the box.   Now try to manipulate the bristles towards the front side of the tree as this will also help it to lay flat against the matchbox. 

Twinkles Glitter Paint
Now paint the wood base of the tree any color you like.  In the photo on the left I only used glitter paint on the base.

Next take some white craft paint and brush it gently on the trees to add more of a snowy effect. If you are content the way they are leave them be.  Dry well.

Now using your hot glue gun, carefully place a line of glue down the back side of the tree and also on the base and adhere it to the matchbox.

Once the hot glue has set, add a few dots of  glitter glue to the tree to resemble ornaments.  Now set aside to dry.  After the ornaments are dry your Christmas matchboxes are finished!

Glitter Glues

Now if bottle brush trees don't make you merry, the picture below shows a few painted matchboxes with glitter pebble stickers and holiday chipboard glued to them.  These are a real quick way to dress up any painted matchbox!  

As always, be very careful with matches and since they are so adorable, keep them away from the kiddies!

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